Mini is planning to release a lightweight roadster based on the Supperleggera Vision concept first unveiled last year at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este last year. UK-based publication CAR recently broke the news, garnered from unidentified sources, stating the new two-door drop-top has received the go-ahead for production sometime in early 2018. 

This coincides with a much-needed refresh which sees Mini reducing its lineup to five core models, eschewing the previous broad niche focus going into a third generation. The new-gen stable is expected to include a three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback, the Countryman, the Clubman, and now, a superleggera two-seater.

The Paceman, Coupe and Roadster are all expected to get the axe. 

While the concept vehicle originally came equipped with a hybrid AWD driveline featuring an electric motor driving the front wheels and a gas-powered engine driving the rear wheels, CAR says the production version will most likely be fitted with an assortment of three- and four-cylinder powerplants, including a top-range, 189-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo stuffed into a Superleggera Cooper S. 

Mini has been dragging its feet when it comes to updating its lineup, and if CAR’s inside sources turn out to be correct, a superleggera Mini will be most welcome indeed. “Despite certain type approval-related modifications, the production version is said to retain the character and charisma of the 2014 concept car,” CAR says.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mini Superleggera Vision.

Why it matters

The release of a “super lightweight” Mini should be redundant, but unfortunately, it isn’t. Since BMW took over the marque in 2000, the once lithe little front-wheel-driver has gained mass and girth at a steady pace. The original Mini was a car focused on being more than the sum of its parts, making it quick, relatively inexpensive and above all, fun. It truly was “mini,” but offered surprising amounts of room despite its diminutive size. By comparison, the current models seem more concerned with making a fashion statement. Throw in the proliferation of overlapping lifestyle niche vehicles, and it’s no wonder the top brass feel the lineup has become a bit muddled. 

I think the introduction of a lightened roadster is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. However, I’d take this newfound sporting intent a step further. What do I really want to see? How about a three-door hatchback with a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine laying down 200 horsepower, paired with an extremely low curb weight, stiff suspension, and AWD?

“But wait,” you might be saying, “I thought the original Mini was FWD. Now you want AWD?” The reason, dear reader, can be summed up in one three-letter acronym: WRC.

You see, Mini used to be a big name in international rallying. But that was the 60s, and since then, there’s really been only one attempt at reclaiming that former glory (or rather, half-hearted attempt, given the Mini John Cooper Works WRC’s single-year run). Rally is where the Mini name was made, and rally is where it should be reborn. 

But don’t get me wrong, I’m glad BMW has decided to make a lightweight Mini. Throw a roof on it, bless it with AWD, and strap a Scandinavian hot-shoe behind the wheel, and I’ll be even happier. 

Mini Superleggera Vision

2014 Mini Superleggera Vision High Resolution Exterior
- image 553448

Source: CAR

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